Category Archives: TV/Music/Movies

Jennifer Lawrence makes a Cameo

Pic for

Spoiler Alert … this article will not reveal any new buzz on JLaw. Not one ‘never before seen’ photos. Just a curious observation and my normal twisted insight.

I am a TV binger. My wife will tolerate it a bit but normally heads to her fortress of solitude to write the under-appreciated wonderful work of literary expertise. (You should follow her, check it out.). This month, I have gone back in the TV archives and am half way through Monk, that creatively written work about a detective dealing with so many disorders that dissertations could be written about him.

Yesterday, I noticed something I haven’t noticed before. In season 5, episode 3 … Mr. Monk and the Big Game … a huge Hollywood moment takes place. Before X-Men, preceding the mega hit trilogy Hunger Games, in her very first credit on IMDB, Jennifer Lawrence has appears and has a line. You don’t really see her much, she is hidden inside a cougar mascot outfit. For a second or two, she removes her outfits headpiece and interacts with Traylor Howard (Natalie). And jut like that, TV history is made.

There are times in our lives where people cross our path and we don’t even notice. Maybe they seem hidden. Maybe they are people of recognition or becoming a person of cultural value, but we just don’t know it. What we need to realize is that all people are of value … maybe not to Hollywood or Washington. But they are to God. And so they should be to you as well.

We don’t treat people different because of their worldly value, but we should treat each worthily of being the unique creation of the almighty, all loving, all wise God.

This impacts our view on immigration, preborn life, evangelism, race relations, sanctity of life, and so much more.

Do we help people be the best they can be? Do we encourage others in their journey, even if means we decrease no they increase? Do we value others the way Jesus did?

There may be someone who crosses your path today that will go forward and cure cancer, write great stories, build wonderful machines, or more. Maybe be they will be a mother of a special needs child, a care worker in a 3rd world country, or a bank teller.

I caught the half second appearance of JLaw and was intrigued. But I also should also see each person that crosses my path and see the potential God has for them as well.

Today … look at each person like that. See if it changes your world view. It does mine.

It’s a Wonderful Life … some life lessons from Bedford Falls

This past week, Mike Floyd shared some timeless and biblical truths from the pulpit. He pulled some clips from a classic movie to demonstrate these truths to help us remember and apply these life lessons. So, enjoy these ponderings as you think about George Bailey’s life …

⁃ If you’re going to help someone, then you need to get to know them … Mark 2.13-17

⁃ Our plans don’t always match God’s plans …. Proverbs 27.1, James 4.13-17

⁃ Putting others before ourselves leads to a more fulfilling life and is honoring to the Lord … Phil 2.3-4, Rom 12.10, 1 John 4.7-8, Matt 6.33

⁃ Having faith and a community matters … Matt 21.22, Hebrews 11.6, Luke 1.37, Proverbs 3.5-6 —— Gal 6.2, 1 Cir 12.25-27, Rom 12.9-21

⁃ God’s greatest gift is life … Genesis 1.27, Matt 16.25, John 10.10

If you’ve seen this classic, these points may make you think of various scenes from the work. If not, I encourage you to watch and enjoy.

Think about some movies you like. What life lessons are there from them? Seeing everything from a Biblical world is exciting as we apply eternal truths to art, entertainment, relationships, work, everything. May 2019 challenge us to how we see the world around us.

Happy New Year

Wilson – Volleyball Friend or Sagely Neighbor?

This morning, I was in the driveway getting out of the 4Runner. I just come back from Granny Bee’s and Andy’s Garage (scheduling an oil change according to the schedule Matt Jones tells me – and I always listen to Matt J). And out of the stillness of the Evergreen quiet community, I hear this clear call of “Good Morning!” It was Evelyn, my neighbor across the street. I had visited Buster and Evelyn before, even spent some time trying to get their beagle “Jack” to go home after he escaped their electronic hidden fence.

I responded, “Mornin’ Neighbor” … and then headed in to the church office.

Why does this impact me enough to write about it? Well, just before moving here, I lived in the Dallas suburbs. In the three previous years, there were a few head nods as we passed in the apartment hallways, an occasional muted and rushed hello when I left my apartment the same time the person across the hall left their abode, and maybe a honk or two by a person in the garage (okay, that may be more of a ‘get out of the way’ communication). But here – people wave, drivers of passing cars raise their hand to acknowledge a greeting – not to give a hand gesture because you’re driving weird or won’t yield – and neighbors intentionally yell out a greeting. Kind of cool to know people spend time getting to know their neighbors.

The thought that came to my mind was Wilson – and then my brain thought of two Wilsons. The first was Tom Hanks companion on the island – the one he lost at sea during his escape from the island. Wilson – the name of the volleyball – the name of Tom Hank’s friend.

The second – Wilson W. Wilson – the kindly neighbor in which you never saw his face (until the final episode), on Tim Allen’s Home Improvement. Wilson W. Wilson was that great neighbor that seemed to impart wisdom and friendship to his clumsy neighbor. He had a normal greeting that has become part of television lore.

Hi-dee-ho, neighbor!

So I ponder as I type this – what kind of neighbor would we really prefer? The quiet, never speaks, not really a relationship type of a friend a volleyball can offer? One that listens to us, but never interrupts and never gives unwanted advice?

Or the kind, listening ear, sharing wisdom because he cares type of neighbor? Watches out for us, and more.

Yeah, yeah, Tom Hanks needed someone – he was all alone as a castaway. I get that. But I would prefer the humorous, wise, and ever patient neighbor.

So today, I share some wisdom from Wilson …

“Getting old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you never committed.”
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons; but if you treat them as sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”
“Well, Tim, I’m reminded of what the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tse said. You cannot speak of the ocean to a well frog, you cannot speak of ice to a summer insect.”
“A great lover is not one who romances a different woman every night; a great lover is one who romances the same woman for a lifetime.”

Who is your Wilson?

Rocky, Apollo, Creed, and Now Me

No, I am not getting in the ring. No, I am not preparing for a fight. No, the heavy weight class boxing professionals do not have a new target to bloody and bruise. But yes, I am back in the exercise routine of using the heavy bag. The recent move has changed my routine. I got a lot of extra activity with packing, moving boxes up and down flights of stairs, loading, unloading, and arranging the new house. BUT, this church really loves to show that they are happy we are together – and one of the way Baptists show they care is … you guessed it … food. Now I love this, and I love food (way too much) so all the weight lost by that extra activity was overridden by the calories taken in during the past three weeks.

So, this past weekend I went to that garage sale online called Craigslist – Lynchburg. I purchased an Everlast 100 pound heavy bag, reassembled the frame in the basement of the parsonage, and wahlah. (is that how it’s spelled?)

Now the extra stuff – got my gloves, relearned how to wrap, and … oops, need a playlist. I put my exercise expert on it – Calvin, get me a 30 minute music playlist – none of the motivational mumbo jumbo you listen to.

This is a lot of stuff to do. Why do I even bother? I mean, I do hike and hiking is an excellent workout in nature. But you can’t always make the trails. Weather, time, and distractions keep me away from the mountains.

But exercise is important. God gave me time on the planet and I need to be better at taking care of myself. Therefor, the exercise. And yes, that means eating better too. So tomorrow – I will pick up some salad material – feeling like raw spinach leaves, strawberries, and glazed walnuts – add some crumbled cheese. That sounds good right now. (for those who know me, this may seem like I have had a stroke and am out of my mind – just feel good for me.)

Calvin recently signed up for next year’s Spartan Race – since he has a strong motivation from a dear friend who just completed the trifecta in Glen Rose. Not sure if I want that, but at least I am punching something to work out – something that won’t sue me.
What about you? What are you doing to take care of your body?

Today – make the decision to eat, exercise, and take care of what the good Lord gave ya.

AND YES – I intentionally did this on the number one candy day of the year. Halloween 2018.

Talk to you next month.

Shark Week and You

It was their 30th anniversary. 30 years of television genius. No, I am not referring to Animaniacs, though a case could be made for that too. I am referring to Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK. Oh yeah. Now, we cut the cable cord a while back but I work around 3 TV sets in the hotel lobby and I tried to make sure one of the channels was set to the shows that showed these wonderful predators. And there are always reruns.

So I got to wondering if sharks ever make an appearance in Scripture. The direct answer is no. However, there are a few sea creatures that many connect to sharks. We have the Leviathan – that unusual and uncertain sea creature. I kind of think that is more of a Megalodon (just in time for Steve Austin’s movie Meg).

Some connect the ‘great fish’ that ate Jonah might have been a shark. Maybe. I’ll ask him when I see him in heaven.

So, no … no sharks in specifically mentioned in the Bible.

But I read an interesting concept of sharks, specifically sharks in captivity. This was mentioned in a John Maxwell book, Developing the Leaders Around You, and repeated on several sermon sites as an undocumented illustration, but I have yet to find research behind it. But it is a great illustration. So let me just copy it straight from (a great resource for those online students of the Word.)

“I met a young man not long ago who dives for exotic fish for aquariums. He said one of the most popular aquarium fish is the shark. He explained that if you catch a small shark and confine it, it will stay a size proportionate to the aquarium. Sharks can be six inches long yet fully matured. But if you turn them loose in the ocean, they grow to their normal length of eight feet.

That also happens to some Christians. I’ve seen some of the cutest little six-inch Christians who swim around in a little puddle. But if you put them into a larger arena—into the whole creation—only then can they become great.”

Maxwell continues the principle by saying leaders may stay small if they stay confined by small environments. But leaders can be catalyst of change … redefining and expanding the environment.

So … be the change. Don’t be confined and thus stunt your growth. Dream big, attempt big, and be amazed at the wonderful things God can and will do in and through you.

So ends today’s lesson from a shark. Get out and grow big!

Link to illustration here

Winnie the Pooh – are you that kind of bear?

Winnie the Pooh (from the opening pages)

Sometimes Winnie-the-Pooh likes a game of some sort when he comes downstairs, and sometimes he likes to sit quietly in front of the fire and listen to a story. This evening—“What about a story?” said Christopher Robin.

“What about a story?” I said.

“Could you very sweetly tell Winnie-the-Pooh one?”

“I suppose I could,” I said. “What sort of stories does he like?”

“About himself. Because he’s that sort of Bear.”

“Oh, I see.”

“So could you very sweetly?”

“I’ll try,” I said.”

So I tried …

So begins A.A. Milne’s classic writings on Winnie the Pooh. With the movie ‘Christopher Robin’ hitting the screens in August, I thought I would go back and read the original works. And like almost always, I try to see how I can glean lessons for life from a Christ centered world view and connect it as illustrations for the truths of the Bible. Little kids (and big kids like me) sometimes remember better when things like talking bears, bunnies that do opera (Bugs Bunny), or road runner chasing coyotes are part of the story telling.

And it didn’t take long. On the very first page, I was amazed at the profound insight from Winnie the Pooh’s desire. He likes to hear stories about himself. Because he is that sort of bear.

Really? Seems a bit selfish, a bit narcissistic don’t you think?

But as I pondered, and had a bit of self-revelation, I think we are that sort of bear too. Most of us like to hear people talk about us – we may not admit it but we like it. Compliment us, tell us we are doing well at work, give a shout out to us through Facebook or IG. We not only like to hear it, we like to see it – snap that selfie, give us those duck lips (which are only cute on Daffy, just saying), or tag us in a group pic.

No matter how it is done, most of us selfishly enjoy such attention. But I want to challenge us to see a different way, a Biblical way …

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Outdo one another in showing honor.

But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

I think you get the point. Let’s be encouraging to others, let’s put them before ourselves, let’s serve and lift them up – leaving any glory to Him and Him alone.

This week, how will you make an effort to elevate others? Send a note or email, tell a coworker they are appreciated, write a thank you card to your mother (you heard me, your mother), or whatever.

Just don’t be the kind of bear that likes to only hear stories about yourself. Leave that for Winnie the Pooh.


Excerpt From

Winnie-the-Pooh – Deluxe Edition

A. A. Milne

Verses – Phil 2.3, Rom 12.10, John 3.30, 1 Cor 10.24

What I Needed to Learn from Star Wars IV – Thanks Biggs

Any Star Wars Geeks out there? You might already know this little bit of Star Wars lore – but I find it worth repeating. It’s all about an actor named Garrick Hagon. Garrick is a London born actor who has appeared in the Dr. Who series, a James Bond film, Batman, Mission Impossible, and for the sake of this post – Star Wars IV: A New Hope. Quite a resume.

And in Star Wars IV, his role is critical. There may not have been a sequel if his role wasn’t in the film. His part – Biggs Darklighter. Ring a bell? Yeah, me neither. And though he seems insignificant, he had a pretty significant role – but most of it ended up on the floor in the editing room. What did make it into the theatrical version was less than two minutes.

Blast it Biggs, where are you?

The snippet that did make it was Biggs as an X-Wing pilot for the Rebellion, Red 3 (though some argue it was Red 2). He was supposed to have Luke’s back when they went up against the Death Star in the climatic battle in space. Luke, under fire from Empire TIE Fighters, cries, “Blast it Biggs, where are you?” They exchanged a few lines over the radio as well. Now Biggs did have Luke’s back – as a matter of fact, Biggs stayed defending Luke’s important bomb run. And Luke made the successful bomb drop – but not before Biggs died making sure Lue was safe.

90 seconds. But that 90 seconds made the difference in the entire Star Wars universe. Biggs died – Luke lived. Biggs is rarely talked about, mostly unknown, and left to the obscurity of rebellion history. But his role is vital. Luke Skywalker is a household name. He is legend. Even my wife thinks Luke’s role in Star Trek is important (Yes, she can’t distinguish between the SW and the ST universes – so sad.)

Sometimes in my life, I feel like Biggs – unknown, forgotten, just a blip on the story of this world. My part of the story seems to be regulated to the floor of the editors floor. You may feel that way too. Why has life seemed to pass you by? What happened to your role in the story?

Let me encourage you – God hasn’t forgotten you. He forgets no one. And He still has something for you to do. I believe that – why? Because you are still here. As long as you’re still here, He has something for you to be doing. Now, you may not know what it is – you may never know (think of Job, he never knew his role in the story – but it was big.)

Our role may be huge (in earthly terms) or it may be an itsy bitsy tiny role. But you see, this story is not about us – it’s about Him and His glory. So whatever role we have, we can trust His wisdom and His sovereignty that our role is important in the Big Story – His story.

Let me encourage you – God hasn’t forgotten you. He forgets no one. And He still has something for you to do.


POST SCRIPT – What about Biggs? Here’s what was left out. Biggs role was Luke’s best friend growing up on Tatooine. He deserted his position as an Empire’s TIE fighter pilot to join the rebellion. He had confided in this before hand with Luke at Toshe Sation. Before the Battle of Yavin (the Death Star scene), Luke ran into Biggs in the X-Wing hanger – Biggs spoke up for Luke – always encouraging him. Biggs’ death for Luke’s survival was another loss of Luke’s past as Luke moved forward to be the Jedi master and hero of the rebellion.

Thank Garrick for the lesson.  Maybe part of our role is to be the friend and encouragement to those God has brought into our life. Maybe, just maybe.

Prayer For The Unknown

WOW – I got a “Thank you but no thank you, you don’t match our qualifications” letter today – in about 9 hours from the time I sent the CV and Cover Letter. That is the quickest turnaround I’ve had in this time of transition. Sometimes, life doesn’t work out in the time schedule we desire.

But I also came to another realization this week. In regards to how I am praying for the next open door, I need to be praying in an additional perspective. I do pray for the churches/ministries at which I have submitted my resume. I pray for the church family, the search team and process, and the church’s future. But there is something else.

Let me explain it this way. When Lisa and I got married, we had a Wayne Watson song sung – Somewhere In the World Out There. It is the prayer of father of a young boy, praying for the little girl that one day their son would marry. They don’t even know her name, but they’re praying for her just the same – that the Lord would write His name upon her heart. (see full lyrics at the end)

I know my parents prayed and continue to pray for Lisa – I mean, they know whom she married, so she needs that prayer. But then, we took this prayer to the next generation – we now pray this for Calvin. We have prayed, and continue to pray for each young woman that Calvin has ever dated (No we are not stalkers or crazed parents – just praying parents). But we don’t know whom he will eventually be blessed by.  There is someone out there. Someone that we pray God is writing His name on her heart. And whomever you are, Lisa and I are praying that you hold on to Jesus wherever you are.

Now, in relation to my present situation, my pursuit of that open door God has for me – maybe I need to pray for that next ministry, that next congregation, that next city – that even though I don’t know who you are – I pray God writes His name on your heart, that you hold on to Him wherever you are. Yes, I continue to pray for those with whom I have applied – I even lift them up after they no longer consider me. My prayers don’t stop at thank you – no thank you. But maybe I need to pray for the unknown, the yet to be determined.

How about you? As parents, pray for that person who will cross your child’s path, pray for their walk with Jesus and their love for the Lord. As students, pray for those teachers and classmates for next year – you don’t even know who they are, but pray for them just the same. And are you looking for a job – pray for the unknown coworkers you haven’t even met.

We often pray in specifics, but sometimes we need to pray for the unknown – the uncertain – the yet to be determined. Pray in faith — even when you cant see where you’re headed.

There is an excitement in this – but there is a trembling too. It’s all about trust. And I follow a God that is big enough to trust. Do you?

Somewhere in the world today
A little girl will go out to play
All dressed up in mama’s clothes
At least the way that I suppose it goes

Somewhere in the world tonight
Before she reaches to turn out the light
She’ll be prayin’ from a tender heart
A simple prayer that’s a work of art

And I don’t even know her name
But I’m prayin’ for her just the same
That the Lord will write His name upon her heart
‘Cause somewhere in the course of this life
A little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus, baby wherever you are

Somewhere in the world out there
That little girl’s learnin’ how to care
She’s pickin’ up her mama’s charms
Or maybe swingin’ around in her daddy’s arms

Somewhere in the world to be
Though the future’s not really clear to me
Theirs could be a tender love
Grounded in eternal love above

And I don’t even know her name
But I’m prayin’ for her just the same
That the Lord will write His name upon her heart
‘Cause somewhere in the course of this life
A little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus, baby wherever you are

— Wayne Watson, from Album Giants In The Land, 1985

POST SCRIPT – Want to hear it – listen and watch this YouTube clip

Don’t confuse with Shawn Mendes or Alan Jackson songs.

A Goth Scientist Leaves a Mark

She was different. She was a bit Goth, okay maybe a more than just a bit. She had a casket in her apartment where guests would sleep. She wore black and leather studded accessories. She was a regular church goer and bowled with the nuns and played BINGO with the senior adults. The character was written with the actress specifically in mind – for the actress and the character are the same – they both have degrees in Forensics. The actress has a degree in Forensics and a Masters in Criminology. She drinks lots of Caf-Pow (which was originally filled with Hawaiian Punch, but later changed to cranberry juice to eliminate sugar intake). She is a natural blonde but dyed her hair for the role. A native from New Orleans, her ‘let the good times roll’ personality is clearly evident.

For the NCIS fans out there, I am talking of Forensic Scientist Abby Sciuto – known in real life as Pauley Perrette. Yes there is a lot more about her, just Google away. But with her character’s dramatic departure from the long running show, Abby has left quite an impact on viewers.

The character was integrated into the show so that they could prove that TV characters that are Goth or edgy personalities do not have to be only on the fringe or have weird roles – they are intelligent and driven. They can pursue any career they choose. Even today, there are young women who have followed in Abby’s footsteps and pursued fields in science and Criminology – specifically because of the character ‘Abby’. Perrette has set up scholarships at two universities to help young women attend college to pursue such fields.

LESSON ONE – Don’t judge a book by its cover

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

LESSON TWO – It okay to be different

Abby had a passion for the homeless and downcast and disadvantaged. She was driven to find answers to questions and mysteries. She was so strong yet vulnerable. And even in the final episodes, she shows compassion and concern for the mugger (who actually turned out to be a hired killer), pleading to let her help him. And when she had he chance to kill the one who hired the killer, the one who wanted her dead, her science and intelligence showed she was the smarter person, and her character showed she was the better person – she would not stoop to the level of the scum she put behind bars.

LESSON THREE – Be a person that lifts people up and don’t stoop to their level

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

LESSON FOUR – You don’t have to check your Faith at the door where you work

Yes, she left an impact on many. She was light and cheerfulness in a crime drama series that dealt with serious crimes. She showed you don’t have to check your Christianity at the door. And she showed its okay to be different. I think we can learn a lot from Abby. She left her mark in the TV world as well as mine.

What kind of mark are you leaving on those around you? Make it a positive one.

AND – Laissez les bons temps rouler

Thank the Germans on Your Birthday

As I type this, I am making plans to stop by Sprinkles at Legacy West on the way to work.  I want to get me a birthday cupcake. Sprinkles does them best. And I guess I have the Germans to thank for this tradition. You see, today (5.15) is my birthday. I read an article recently that gave a brief history of celebrating birthdays and they did not always have such wide appeal. Here is a quick summary.  (See here for full article)

The earliest recorded birthday celebration was about 3500 B.C.E., but it was more likely a celebration of the Egyptian Pharaoh ascending to the throne and thus becoming a deity in the Egyptian culture. So not a real birthday.  Kind of a rebirth birthday.

The Greeks offered cakes to Artemis; and eventually, they added candles for a glowing effect. The Romans spread the practice of celebrating birthdays for commoner – but sorry ladies, it was just for the men.

Early Christians avoided celebrating birthdays. They connected it to pagan rituals and thus tried to avoid this (until they took it over – I mean, food, celebrations, parties – sounds like a baptist fellowship to me).

But the Germans – they invented the contemporary birthday cakes. Wahoo. Now the practice was more for kinder, kids, but I know few adults who will pass on cake.

The industrial revolution brought cakes to the masses. Pre-made cakes made them affordable and available.

Traditions are important. They give a cohesion between generations. They bridge events and places and memories by giving purpose and emotions. They reinforce values, strengthen relationships, and can even create avenues for future memories and connections.

So celebrate traditions and maybe even create some new ones. Spend time with friends and family. And also, have a cupcake or a slice of cake – and blame it on me – because it’s my birthday!!!

Bonus – this day in history …

  • Nolan Ryan pitches his first no-hitter, 1973
  • ‘Ebony and Ivory’ hits number 1 (stays there for seven weeks), 1982
  • George Wallace is shot, 1972
  • First Allied jets fly over Europe, 1941
  • The French and Indian War began, 1756
  • Sherman, TX decimated by Tornado – 73 die, 1896